Cau­tion urged with metal­lic bal­loons to pre­vent power out­ages

The Maui News - - COUNTY/ IN BRIEF -

Maui Elec­tric Co. is urg­ing high school grad­u­ates and their well-wish­ers to hold on to metal­lic bal­loons and re­frain from set­ting off “con­fetti can­nons” near power lines or other util­ity equip­ment.

Ob­jects such as metal­lic bal­loons can come in con­tact with power lines and trig­ger out­ages, the util­ity said.

The grad­u­a­tion sea­son is in May and June. Maui High School’s grad­u­a­tion is the first this year, begin­ning at 4:30 p.m. Sat­ur­day at War Memo­rial Sta­dium.

Last year in Honolulu, Hawai­ian Elec­tric crews re­sponded to an out­age caused by metal­lic stream­ers from a con­fetti can­non that landed on a trans­former. So far this year, eight bal­loon-re­lated out­ages have hap­pened on Oahu. And, on Jan. 25, about 250 cus­tomers in the Waiehu area lost power briefly when a metal­lic bal­loon touched a power line.

In 2017, there were two metal­lic bal­loon/streamer out­ages in Maui County, down from three such in­ci­dents in 2016.

Metal­lic bal­loons and stream­ers can cause a short cir­cuit and knock out power to an en­tire neigh­bor­hood.

The util­ity’s safety tips in­clude: mak­ing sure a bal­loon is tightly se­cured to a string or rib­bon; adding a weight to the string to an­chor the bal­loon; never re­leas­ing bal­loons into the sky or shoot­ing any­thing at power lines or near util­ity equip­ment; and de­flat­ing bal­loons af­ter use.

Peo­ple also should not try to free a metal­lic bal­loon that’s in con­tact with a power line.

To re­port prob­lems, call 871-7777 on Maui or (877) 871-8461 on Molokai and Lanai.

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